Chris and I visited Purdue yesterday. In a lot of ways it feels more like a home to me than the city in which I grew up. I was there for 4 years when I got my first degree, then hung around to get another degree while Chris finished his PhD. All in all, I was there from August 2000 – July 2009, nearly 9 years minus school vacations that were spent at home with family.
I wanted to go back before we moved to New Zealand. I formed a lot of deep connections in that area, and it was important for me to see certain people before we left. One of those people is Ulla, a former co-worker of mine from one of the Lafayette-area hospitals. She has children my age, but our age difference has never been an issue. Whenever I see her or speak with her I come away uplifted and encouraged. We hadn’t seen one another in close to 2 years, what with our being in Boston and then moving to South Bend. I walked into the restaurant, saw her, and it was like we’d never been apart. We gave each other a great big hug and started chatting away. It was great to visit with her, but at the same time it made me incredibly sad. This was probably the last that I’ll see of her for 5 years, and most likely longer than that.
While Ulla and I were catching up at one restaurant, Chris was eating dinner with his former dissertation chair at another. I finished my dinner early, so I decided to drive around the area while waiting for him. I drove past our old house that we lived in shortly after being married, our old apartment (so tiny!), the hospital where I used to work (now closed and moved to a new location), the new hospital, our old church… it made me sad. I hadn’t been in town for almost 2 years, but it felt as though I had just left. So many familiar places and memories. The thought of being far away from it is hard.
It felt like the beginning of the good-byes. I’ve known for some time now about our move to New Zealand, but I kept thinking, “Oh, it’s months and months away”. I suppose I took a line from Scarlett O’Hara’s book: “I can’t think about that now. I’ll think about that tomorrow”. But tomorrow is almost here, and I’ve got to think about what this move will mean for me.
I’m a firm believer that happiness is a choice. You can be at a job that you don’t enjoy, living in an area that you don’t love far away from your family, but how you choose to react to a thing is up to you. My mom used to say, “The only person who’s behavior your responsible for is your own.” I love that line. It’s helped me out a lot over the years. I remember it whenever I’m tempted to play the victim of circumstance. In a way, that’s tremendously liberating. I’m looking ahead to this move and I’ve already decided that I’m going to be happy and that I’m going to like it there. I did that when we moved to Boston (and that was hard!), and I did it again when we moved to South Bend (also hard – have you seen South Bend?!). That’s not to say that I don’t have my off days weeks, a fact to which Chris, my parents, and all of my brothers and sisters would most happily attest, I’m sure! Going away and leaving loved ones, leaving jobs that bring fulfillment and meaning to my life, is difficult.
I have a lot of things to be grateful for – my husband has a very good job, we’re moving to a city that was ranked as having the 4th highest quality of living in the world, it’s a wonderful climate, I’ll get to meet my friend Priscilla (yay!), and the university has a generous relocation policy. I get the opportunity to work in a different healthcare culture with different ways of doing things. What a great opportunity to learn and to grow! Still, good-byes are hard. Please keep me, Chris, and our families in your thoughts and prayers as our moving date draws near. Pray that we have good attitudes and that we trust God regardless of whether or not His plans for us are clearly laid before our feet. Pray that I don’t let worry and anxiety overwhelm me – this is something that I’m struggling with a lot right now. Thanks so much to all of you, my lovely readers, for your support 🙂